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  • First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

    My first trip to Universal Orlando is coming up, I'll be at the parks Jan 31st and Feb 1st. Since it's the offseason, I don't expect massive lines, but I was just looking for some enthusiast tips, anything helps!

    We'll be at IOA on the 31st, and USF on the 1st. Considering doing BGT on the 2nd, if anyone wants to know. I really want to hit the major E-tickets at all of the parks, and some rides I'm not sure about are Dr Doom's FearFall and Twister.

    I'd greatly appreciate tips on;

    -park strategy
    -good photos and where to take them
    -where to view the night-time show
    -where to eat
    -whether to do the triangle of drench, (seeing as it's winter, and yes I know Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges are closed.)
    -"hidden gems" of the parks

  • #2
    Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

    Hi and welcome to the boards.
    First off lets tackle IOA.
    IOA is a 1.8 out of 10 on touringplans.com for the day you are going, so it is quiet.
    First off hit the Wizarding World first thing then get the hell out of there. I'm sure WWoHP won't be that busy, but to get everything in in 1 day you need to minimize your time in lines and the Forbidden Journey will still have a good line.
    Head back there after 4 to get on stuff again and to get some great pics as the sun goes down.
    Evrything else will be quiet, so do things as much as you can.
    Make sure you spend time in Port of Entry, it is such an overlooked area of the park and has so much detail, pay particular attention to the music, not just in Port of Entry,but all over the park.
    I wouldn't recommend Dudley Do Right as you get absolutely soaked, but Jurassic Park should be ok to do.
    As far as eats, Mythos is a must do, the Confisco Grill is also a great place to eart, but don't rule out heading in to City Walk if nothing takes your fancy.
    If your unsure of drop rides, then Dr Doom will not be your friend, but if your curious, then head over and try it on the day your going you shouldn't wait longer than 16 minutes.

    Over to USF.
    On Touring Plans.com it is a 2.2 on the day you are going, so it is quiet.
    The only ride that will demand a queue will be rip,ride,rockit, so hit it early or be prepared to wait half an hour or so.
    Other than R,r,r, you won't wait longer than 20 minutes all day, so take your time and enjoy all the rides. Twister isn't the best, but you'll only wait 10 minutes for it, so check it out, you might like it.
    Places to eat.
    Finnegans is highly recommended as is Lombards (if your in to seafood) alos Richters is a good choice adn for a sweet treat, Schwabs Pharmacy is an absolute MUST!
    I have not seen the Cinematic Spectacular yet, so I#'m not sure of the best veiwing locations, but I'm sure KingEric will be alog soon to let you know.

    Again, don't forget City Walk, Bubba Gump is a great choice for Seafood and Jimmy Buffets is highly recommended too.

    That's a quick reply, hopefully some more people will be along, if I think of anything else, I'll be sure to post them here.

    Don't forget to let us know how you get on, when you come back.
    :-)

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    • #3
      Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

      Since it's a quiet time at the parks, you should be able to do everything that interests you at the parks. I would definitely do Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Despicable Me first if you are arriving early. Those rides get long waits no matter what kind of crowd is there. At USF, there are not a lot of rides open at the moment with Transformers and Harry Potter well into construction, and so I recommend you see a show just to pass the time like Horror Make Up Show or the Blues Brothers, who are both favorites of mine there. Unless you rather ride something 15 times. For the Cinematic Spectacular, the area in between New York and San Francisco, which is behind Bettlejuice, is a great spot. The nighttime show is the best at the park and a must see attraction in my opinion. For eating, it depends on how much you want to spend at a restaurant. If you want something quick, the quick service restaurants are all almost the same, but I heard good things about Monsters Cafe. If you can take 30-45 out for lunch or dinner, definitely consider Finnegan's, Mythos if open, and most restaurants at City Walk. If you go to Mythos, it helps to have a reservation. As a big Back to the Future fan, a pic with Doc Brown would be great. If you love Marvel super heroes, they are great too. As a huge fan of Universal water rides, because other theme park water rides can't stand up to Universal's, I recommend Dudley and Jurassic Park. And there's a secret trail at Toon Lagoon. I did a trip report with UUOP Lee on his podcast recently so hopefully that and the other trip reports from his podcast can help! Have fun!
      Only Griffins fly high

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      • #4
        Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

        What Lee said! Lol
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        • #5
          Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

          Hi there!

          In addition to what the guys above have said so eloquently, can I add my two pence worth? Let me address your queries in order...

          -park strategy
          You can treat both parks as one and hop between as the whim takes you, Lee & I tend to spend 1/2 a day in each and the walk between is a nice respite or an excuse for lunch! Lee's tip on WWOHP is a good one.

          -good photos and where to take them
          I like to look for the 'different' viewpoint. Try framing a shot across the lagoon through the foliage from the park area in front of Carmen's Veranda, squat so that you get a lower angle that sort of thing. Good spots, as I remember, are anywhere from either lagoon, in the Studios: the exterior ramps of The Simpsons, the upper level of Lombards, oh, try to get the angle down 2 roads that always is interesting. IOA: head to the topmost level of Me Ship The Olive, wander down the side of Mythos, there are many archways in IOA to add interest to shots. Take the same shots where possible at different times of the day to see how the light changes a view.

          -where to view the night-time show
          I can't answer this one I'm afraid.

          -where to eat
          My recommendations are: IOA - Mythos, but book to be safe, Cathy's in Toon Lagoon for great ice cream, nothing for WWOHP as I haven't had the pleasure myself yet! Studios - Schwab's Pharmacy for amazing sundaes, corn dogs & churros from the carts, Richter's for burgers, Finnegans is supposed to be great, as are Lombards & Louie's. The hotels have some great options, I hear The Kitchen at Hard Rock is gooood. City Walk - Bubba Gump, the Hard Rock Cafe of course, I hear that the Latin Quarter is amazing, as is Emeril's. Of course this all is dependent upon your pocket too.

          -whether to do the triangle of drench, (seeing as it's winter, and yes I know Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges are closed.)

          You know what I suggest? I take a change of clothes and do them all in one go! You still have the fun but are comfortable afterwards. Go for it!

          -"hidden gems" of the parks

          Port of Entry is without a doubt a much overlooked area as guests use it as an entrance/exit corridor. It has amazing theming, music and gags and some pretty cool stores. Explore every corner of it. Find your own hidden gems and let us know on the show - if you see a pathway, follow it! The worst that can happen is it has a locked gate at the end, the best is you could find Horton's egg, footprints, Aesop & son... This goes for both parks. In the Studios look up at the windows, there are some funny and, well, interesting businesses situated there, lol. Check out the kids areas, there are some great visual gags, oh, take your time in the queue areas of Men in Black & The Simpsons for some funnies. Join in with the fun - dance to The Blues Brothers, grab a hug & autograph from your favourite character. Mostly, just forget about your day-to-day life, let loose and have a blast - you won't see these people again so who cares?

          Even if you don't fancy a ride itself, still explore the area as the theming is great everywhere, for example, I hate Dr Doom but I love to look around while the family are riding, the 'body prints' in the concrete are gruesomely cool! You can join the queue lines of any ride and leave before getting onto a ride vehicle and I recommend this whoeheartedly.

          Oh and if you can, get there for park opening, take a break during the day if you need it (lunch is usually enough for us) and stay until well after dark.

          Hope this helps and you have a great time.

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          • #6
            Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

            Wow such great advice!
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            • #7
              Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

              Originally posted by DisneyDude12 View Post
              My first trip to Universal Orlando is coming up, I'll be at the parks Jan 31st and Feb 1st. Since it's the offseason, I don't expect massive lines, but I was just looking for some enthusiast tips, anything helps!

              We'll be at IOA on the 31st, and USF on the 1st. Considering doing BGT on the 2nd, if anyone wants to know. I really want to hit the major E-tickets at all of the parks, and some rides I'm not sure about are Dr Doom's FearFall and Twister.

              I'd greatly appreciate tips on;

              -park strategy
              -good photos and where to take them
              -where to view the night-time show
              -where to eat
              -whether to do the triangle of drench, (seeing as it's winter, and yes I know Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges are closed.)
              -"hidden gems" of the parks
              I will be headed to IOA/USF for the first time in Feb. This looks like it will be a helpfull thread for me to stratigize my trip as well....Bubba Gump sounds good...Looking forward to the "Despicable Me" attraction...

              Once I figure out how to post Pics here I will definatelly post here...Will make sure to spend some time in Port of Entry. Looks like it will be neer 5.0-5.5 when I go according to touringplans.com

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              • #8
                Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

                Welcome aboard Darth Goofy.
                Any questions you have, feel free to post them here and we will help as much as we can.
                We would definitely appreciate a trip report and some photos when you have been.
                The same goes for DisneyDude12.
                :-)
                Check out our podcasts as well for soem other hints and tips.

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                • #9
                  Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

                  Originally posted by Darth Goofy View Post
                  I will be headed to IOA/USF for the first time in Feb. This looks like it will be a helpfull thread for me to stratigize my trip as well....Bubba Gump sounds good...Looking forward to the "Despicable Me" attraction...

                  Once I figure out how to post Pics here I will definatelly post here...Will make sure to spend some time in Port of Entry. Looks like it will be neer 5.0-5.5 when I go according to touringplans.com
                  Ok let me please help you NOT eat at Bubba Gumps. I personally think there are better restaurants at UO with better prices and better value!
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                  • #10
                    Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

                    Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                    Ok let me please help you NOT eat at Bubba Gumps. I personally think there are better restaurants at UO with better prices and better value!
                    You didn't give any suggestions...

                    I think Bubba Gumps is okay, if you really want seafood. Practically everything in CityWalk is overpriced.

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                    • #11
                      Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

                      Originally posted by JtnOrl View Post
                      You didn't give any suggestions...

                      I think Bubba Gumps is okay, if you really want seafood. Practically everything in CityWalk is overpriced.
                      I apologize, one should never put something down and not offer a replace,Eng. that is bad form on my part.

                      ok so restaurant ranking at CityWalk from best to worst
                      emrils
                      the Brazilian BBQ on the 2nd floor of Latinquarter
                      margaritaville
                      bob marleys
                      hard rock
                      pat obriens
                      sushi counter
                      Bubba gumps
                      nascar cafe
                      nba city
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                      • #12
                        Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

                        Potter is a first, then go around tbhe park for attractions that would appeal to you
                        The new Star Wars plot summery:

                        Episode 7: Luke discovers that Darth Vader is not his father, and goes on a search for his real father

                        Episode 8: Darth Vader is resurrected and goes on Jerry Springer, claiming he is Luke and Leia's father

                        Episode 9: Princes Leia is not Luke's sister, making him furious (we all know why...).

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                        • #13
                          Re: First Trip to Universal Orlando; Tips Please

                          I still get all smiley and tingly when I visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
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